On April 2, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a $200M Telehealth Program. Appropriated as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the funds are intended to help healthcare providers furnish remote care services to patients in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible nonprofit and public hospitals and health providers can apply for up to $1M each as part of the total $200M program. Funding is currently available through September 30, 2020.
As COVID-19 spreads across the US, provider organizations are increasingly using virtual care services, such as telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM), to help better manage their populations’ chronic and acute conditions, especially those with COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Telehealth Program will provide eligible health care providers with financial support to purchase telecommunications, information services, and connected devices necessary to furnish telehealth and remote patient monitoring services. The technologies for which funding is requested must be integral to patient care. These include:
- Telecommunications Services and Broadband Connectivity Services: Voice services for health care providers or their patients.
- Information Services: Internet connectivity services for health care providers or their patients; remote patient monitoring platforms and services; patient-reported outcome platforms; store and forward services, such as asynchronous transfer of patient images and data for interpretation by a physician; platforms and services to provide synchronous video consultation.
- Connected Devices/Equipment: Tablets, smartphones, or connected devices to receive connected care services at home (e.g., broadband-enabled blood pressure monitors; pulse oximetry monitors) for patient or health care provider use; or telemedicine kiosks/carts for health care provider sites.
The COVID-19 Telehealth Program will only fund connected devices (e.g., pulse oximetry, blood pressure monitoring devices, etc.), excluding those that require patients to report results to their provider manually. This means health systems can quickly stand-up remote patient monitoring programs to monitor COVID-19 patients at home for worsening conditions and to transition in-person appointments to virtual care models.
Transitioning in-person care to virtual care is a critical use case for many of the applicants. This is especially true for health systems working to protect their populations most vulnerable to COVID-19 exposure – such as people with diabetes, hypertension, CHF, COPD, etc. Continuous monitoring programs and connected devices allow providers to not only keep track of patients’ progress with treatment and current biometrics (e.g., blood pressure, blood glucose, etc.) but also to monitor for the presentation of COVID-19 symptoms (e.g., oxygen saturation, heart rate).
Validic provides a platform to access data from over 400 connected health devices – such as pulse oximeters, blood glucose meters, blood pressure monitors, and more. These data can integrate directly into patient applications, care management platforms, the electronic health record (EHR), etc. via a single application programming interface (API) connection.
Validic also provides an integrable remote patient monitoring solution that embeds directly into the clinical workflow (e.g., EHR, care management platform, etc.). At a high-level, the RPM solution provides:
- visualizations to succinctly review patients’ physiologic data and identify concerning readings or trends;
- automated consent and enrollment flow for patients;
- customizable rules and triggers to elevate data or trends to providers and/or patients;
- hundreds of connected devices – with logistics and support partners – to furnish to your patient populations.
Both solutions can be a part of your FCC funding application. To receive funding through this program, providers must complete the application form available at https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program.
To date, six health systems, including Ochsner, Mount Sinai, UPMC, Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Neighborhood Health Care in Cleveland, and Hudson River HealthCare in southeastern NY – have received funding as part of the program.
In a Public Notice released on April 8, the Commission provided additional guidance on actions applicants can begin to take to ready themselves for applying for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding.
For more information on the COVID-19 Telehealth Program visit:
For more information on Validic’s COVID-19 Home Monitoring Solution, please visit: www.covidmonitoring.com
The information provided in this blog is not intended to and does not, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.
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